Two Male Black Mambas Hunting for Mate Caught at Same Property

A snake catcher has told of how he and his colleagues found two highly venomous black mamba snakes at the same property in South Africa, apparently on the hunt for a mate.

Nick Evans, a reptile educator and snake rescuer based in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal region, came across the snakes as he attended a property in the Durban suburb of Reservoir Hills.

He had gotten reports of two black mamba snakes there that had been seen earlier in the day, he said in a Facebook post.

Black mamba
A stock photo shows a black mamba snake close-up. The snake is fast and has deadly venom. StuPorts/Getty

The black mamba is a deadly African snake that is known for its size, speed, and dangerous venom. Adults can grow up to more than four meters (14 feet) in length according to the encyclopedia Britannica.

Evans, who regularly attends calls to catch black mambas, was frustrated that he had not rescued one for around 10 days.

After meeting some colleagues at the property, Evans got to work searching for the snakes. He was planning to climb underneath the property to have a look there, but that ended up being unnecessary as one of his colleagues spotted one of the snakes. He ran to get a pair of tongs.

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"When I got back I saw the mamba curled up, and it was an easy grab. I pulled it up gently, where Craig got his tongs on it to secure it, while I switched tongs and pinned it down," Evans wrote in a Facebook post.

As the team were putting the snake into a container, the second snake was spotted just a few feet away on a branch. "I had to lean over a bit and stretch, but I got it, and did exactly the same thing," Evans wrote.

Evans initially thought that the two snakes were mates, but found that they were both males. "The last one I caught there was on the 4th of May. Perhaps her scent is still lingering there, and attracted these two," he wrote. "Otherwise maybe there's a new female in town!"

Black mamba mating season takes place in spring and summer and males will fight over females.

Black mambas are described by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as "shy but aggressive" snakes that can strike repeatedly. Their venom is highly toxic and affects both the nervous system and the heart.

Symptoms of a bite may include swelling, loss of control of the tongue and jaw and slurred speech, impaired vision, drowsiness, paralysis, and confusion. A bite can also cause death within several hours, according to South Africa's Kruger National Park.

The fatality rate is 100 percent if left untreated.

The park adds that professional medical care is critical as soon as possible after a bite.

SANBI said black mambas are "nervous animals" and tend to avoid humans, however habitat destruction and the expansion of people into their normal areas can lead to conflict.The institute adds that people who encounter them are encouraged to "move away slowly and call a professional snake handler for removal if the snake is inside any building."